What time does the 2019 Kentucky Derby start?

Horses race during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2018, at Churchill Downs.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

So, planning your day so you can watch the Kentucky Derby? Trying to figure out how to coordinate the end of the bottle of Maker’s Mark and the departure of the neighbors? (Although somehow those events cosmically line up without any help.)

Here’s your answer to the most asked question every first Saturday in May.

The 2019 Kentucky Derby goes off about 3:52 p.m. PDT (that’s L.A. time, folks.)

Live in Denver? It’s 4:52 p.m.

How about Chicago (don’t forget to sweep any leftover snow off your satellite dish)? It’s 5:52 p.m.

And, if you are on the East Coast from Maine to Key West, it’s 6:52 p.m.


It’s a few minutes later than last year, when it was scheduled for 46 minutes past the hour. But it usually goes off late anyway.

Now if you want the full experience, including all the pre-pageantry, we’ve got that for you too.

TV coverage starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT and goes until about 7:15 p.m. on NBC. So, let’s run down the events, and we’re going to switch all times to local, which in this case means Louisville, Ky.

5:06 p.m. (Louisville time): Presentation of colors.

5:08 p.m.: National anthem, sung by Jennifer Nettles. (Hoping for another duet with Bon Jovi, but not likely.)

6:06 p.m.: Horses and connections walk from the barns. It’ll be in slop so you’ll see a lot of expensive clothes get ruined.

6:19 p.m: All the horses should be in the paddock.

6:26 p.m.: Jockeys leave the jock’s room and head to the paddock.

6:33 p.m.: Call of “Riders up” by Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

6:34 p.m.: The call to post.

6:35 p.m.: Playing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” (It’s a song whose original lyrics have very strong racist overtones. They’ve tried to clean it up.)

6:37 p.m.: The post parade.

6:50 p.m.: The horses start to load.

6:52 p.m.: The race starts.

6:58 p.m.: On to the winner’s circle, and Preakness talk begins.

OK, more than you wanted? Well, we gave it to you anyway.

Enjoy your Saturday.

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